The Reality of Energy Poverty
From Budget 2022 Sarah will benefit from the increased rate of One Parent Family Payment (an additional €5), and the child increases for her three children (an additional €6 in total per week). As she is eligible for the Fuel Allowance she will also receive an additional €5 to support her energy costs. This means that as a result of Budget 2022 Sarah will get an extra €16 per week. At back to school time the once-off payment for each of her children will rise by €10.
While the increases are welcome, Sarah is experiencing a higher cost of living and knows that an extra €16 will not go far enough to bridge the gap and prevent her having to make impossible decisions. She is already struggling after the pandemic when having her children home from school led to higher utility costs.
An increase in the carbon tax will apply to motor fuel straight away, so her essential journeys in her car will become more expensive by €1.28 per fill. Filling the oil tank – which was already too much of an expense – will be €19.40 more expensive from next year, and so she will continue to use coal to provide heating, which itself will become more expensive by €0.89. While Sarah’s housing may be upgraded due to investment in local authority retrofitting, this will not happen immediately, and so for now her costs are rising and she has no way to reduce them.
SVP had recommended that Budget 2022 begin to increase social welfare rates so that over in five years’ time they would be able to provide a minimum essential standard of living, but the increases this year didn’t go far enough.
Research and Policy Officer
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